Secretary Fudge Testifies on Proposed HUD Budget
Congress is moving forward with the next annual government funding bill. Marcia Fudge, the secretary of the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), testified in two hearings this week. On the proposed fiscal year 2023 HUD budget, Sec. Fudge said to Congress:
“This budget will help provide security and stability for the American people, advance opportunity and equity on behalf of marginalized communities, and address the existential threats posed by natural disasters and climate change.”
In her statements, Sec. Fudge highlighted the Housing Choice Voucher program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, HUD staffing needs, and other priorities. The budget includes $71.9 billion for HUD, an increase of $6.2 billion more than last year’s funding bill.
House Appropriations T-HUD Subcommittee
Chairman David Price (D-NC) led the House hearing on May 11. Committee members asked Sec. Fudge about specific programs or housing issues in their districts. For example, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) asked about the availability of disaster relief funding following severe storms in Iowa. Sec. Fudge said Congress should permanently authorize the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program to streamline future disaster funding.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the subcommittee’s ranking member, asked Sec. Fudge about the status of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA). Congress passed HOTMA in 2016, but HUD still has not fully implemented the law nearly six years later. Sec. Fudge said HUD expects to issue the final regulations later this year or early in 2023 at the latest.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) asked about HUD’s plans to address the capital needs backlog in public housing. Sec. Fudge said HUD is at the mercy of Congress when it comes to funding, but that the administration believes billions in addition funding is needed to preserve existing public housing units. The full hearing is available on the House Appropriations Committee website.
Senate Appropriations T-HUD Subcommittee
Sec. Fudge testified again in the Senate on May 12. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the subcommittee’s ranking member, asked Sec. Fudge whether HUD could improve the accuracy of Fair Market Rents (FMR). Sec. Fudge said HUD is aware of several issues with the existing FMR formula and will propose a rule change in August.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) expressed concern about the $35 billion in mandatory spending proposed for a new Housing Supply Fund. In response, Sec. Fudge said the United States faces a severe housing shortage, which will worsen without significant investments. She said the $35 billion would be mandatory over a 10-year period to ensure a long-term commitment to increasing housing supply.
A few committee members, including Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), asked Sec. Fudge about her plans to address homelessness. She said HUD is currently working with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) on a “House America” plan to use funding from the American Rescue Plan to re-house homeless individuals and develop new housing units.